The debt collection industry is too often perceived as an assortment of faceless corporate organizations. But, with a presence in every state across the country and 136,000 people directly employed by the industry, third party debt collectors make up a large and diverse work force with compassionate workers like Julie who are engaged in their local communities as valued civic leaders, employers, volunteers, philanthropists and taxpayers, and who genuinely want to work with consumers to help them gain back their financial footing.
An important driver of local job growth, the projected employment for the industry is more than 455,000 by 2022, while annual compensation for a full-time collector averages $38,000.
The overwhelming majority of debt collection companies in the US are small businesses – in fact, according to research by ACA International, the association of credit and collection professionals, 48 percent of their member organizations have fewer than nine employees. Additionally, 86 percent of their members have 49 or fewer employees, and 93 percent of their members have 99 or fewer employees.
The collection industry is a diverse field, employing individuals across a broad range of sociodemographic groups. According to research, although women compose roughly 47 percent of the overall workforce in the US, the collection industry is largely female, with women making up 70 percent of the total debt collection workforce.
As a further testament to the diversity of the industry, racial and ethnic minorities account for 40 percent of the total collections workforce today. Specifically among women, racial and ethnic minorities also account for 40 percent of the total workforce population. Among ACA International member companies, 24 percent report being a minority or women-owned business. The collection industry also employs a large percentage of veterans or military spouses, and a greater percentage of individuals with a disability than are represented in the overall labor force.
Julie is a single mom and one of the nearly 140,000 Americans who depend on the debt collection industry to put food on the table. Also one of the tens of thousands of women who now make up nearly 70 percent of the collections workforce, Julie entered the industry because she wanted to provide a better life for her daughters. Businesses, nonprofits and even public entities have come to rely on Julie’s training and compassion to provide caring solutions to recovering outstanding accounts. Julie’s consumers count on her to provide the help they deserve by fostering positive relationships built on respect.